Cutting a rug

April 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Posted in Crafts, Homemade, Projects | 2 Comments

Literally.  (although, the results kind of made me want cut a rug in the figurative sense also).

Here is our laundry area in the basement.  It is NOT pretty and wonderful.  Someone plastered the basement walls a million years ago and the plaster and paint is falling off now.  There’s a hole in the floor where someone accessed the sewer pipe.  The paint on the floors is wearing, and there’s water stains from when previous owners found water in the basement.  Note: Our neighbor told us that at one point there was waist-high water in the basement.  We’re not entirely sure whether this is a true story, especially when said neighbor always reeks of cheap liquor and consistently asks me if I’m pregnant.  Which I am not. Ouch!

Anyways, our Realtor thought it would be nice if we made this area a little prettier.  She was thinking linoleum flooring and some paint.  I was thinking more along the lines of ultra-cheap (free!) and easy.  Like a rug.  Except that rugs are not all that cheap.

I channeled my inner crafter, and then took some inspiration from my Aunt’s hand-stenciled canvas rug.  Hers is a small rug, only about 2’x3′, but it is functional and cute.

Coincidentally, I had a few yards of painter’s canvas laying around the house and paint leftover from our recent room painting, so I went to work.  And, in the end, it looks a bit more cheerful at no cost to me.

And now?  A tutorial.  For those of you who need a cheap rug in your life.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canvas (can be purchased at hardware stores for about $10 – also try craft or fabric stores)
  • Paint (I just used leftover paint from our bathroom remodel, but you could also use acrylic paint)
  • (Primer – I didn’t use any, but I suppose this might be a good step to include, if you have the time/energy)
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape
  • Tarp/plastic sheet
  • Paint brush/roller
  • Scissors
  • Ruler/Tape measure
  • Iron
  • (Water-based varnish – I also skipped this step, but it can be used to make the rug more durable/stain resistant)

1.  Cut your canvas to the desired size + 2″.  For example, for a 5’x8′ rug, cut 5’2″x8’2″.

2.  Iron the canvas.

3.  Fold over a 1″ edge on each side.  You’ve got some options here – you can sew around the edge, use tape to hold the edge down, or iron the edge.  I opted for the ironed edge – it was a quick and easy way to make a flat edge.

(3.b. Prime your canvas.  I skipped this step, and the finished product was fine.  But if you’re looking to be professional about it, I guess you should prime these things.)

4.  Invent your design.  I simply used a series of horizontal tape lines, but you can get creative here…  Use bowls to trace circles, freehand some flowers or swirlies or whatever.  As mentioned earlier, I was going for quick and easy, and, if you look at the rug closely, you can see that my lines are not exactly parallel.  It kind of drives the perfectionist in me crazy, but I had only an hour to devote to this project, and it’s in the basement.  Anything was an improvement.

5.  Put the canvas on your plastic tarp and paint your design.  I simply used a roller to paint the canvas, but for more intricate designs, you could use a brush.  I used about 1/3 to 1/4 of a gallon of paint on my fairly large rug, probably because I skipped step 3b.  The canvas soaked up whatever I rolled on it, and didn’t bleed through to the back side much.  This is also the step where I remembered – I have a blog!  And I should put this on the blog!  Better take a picture!

6.  Wait for paint to dry (overnight).  Remove painter’s tape, if you’ve used it.  Tada!  It has crooked lines, but Jason says that gives it character.  Truthfully, I could have spent much longer making them parallel.  Oh well.  Next time.

(7.  Another step that I skipped was sealing the rug with varnish.  Most websites suggest putting on 1-2 coats of water-based varnish to make the rug more durable and making it easier to wipe up spills.  I didn’t have time/energy/desire to spend money, so I skipped this step.  So far, so good.)

Any other tips from those of you that have done this sort of thing?  Let me know if you try this – I want to see pictures!!


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